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49ers-Saints Matchup Presents Interesting Values

Jake Ciely Senior Writer November 21, 2012 1:11PM EDT
No more bye weeks. Hallelujah! The playoffs are near. Double hallelujah!


Quarterback Points Allowed
Rank Team Opp PPG
Rank Team Opp PPG
1 San Francisco 49ers NO 20.9 17 Seattle Seahawks MIA 15.4
2 Indianapolis Colts BUF 17.8 18 Oakland Raiders CIN 13.7
3 Cincinnati Bengals OAK 18.3 19 Green Bay Packers NYG 15.9
4 Tennessee Titans JAX 17.5 20 New York Giants GB 14.5
5 Jacksonville Jaguars TEN 17.6 21 San Diego Chargers BAL 12.1
6 Chicago Bears MIN 18.7 22 Philadelphia Eagles CAR 14.4
7 Atlanta Falcons TB 17.7 23 Tampa Bay Buccaneers ATL 12.8
8 Dallas Cowboys WAS 17.5 24 Washington Redskins DAL 12.1
9 Buffalo Bills IND 16.6 25 Detroit Lions HOU 12.8
10 Pittsburgh Steelers CLE 16.8 26 New England Patriots NYJ 12.2
11 New York Jets NE 17.3 27 Kansas City Chiefs DEN 14.1
12 Denver Broncos KC 17.3 28 Cleveland Browns PIT 10.5
13 Carolina Panthers PHI 16.1 29 Miami Dolphins SEA 10.4
14 Baltimore Ravens SAD 15.7 30 New Orleans Saints SAF 10.8
15 Houston Texans DET 15.2 31 St Louis Rams ARI 11.1
16 Arizona Cardinals STL 16.0 32 Minnesota Vikings CHI 9.4



As if the Colin Kaepernick craze wasn’t high enough after his performance on Monday night, now Fantasy owners are gushing over him, as the 49ers face the Saints this week. By now, we all know the Saints are a Fantasy matchup dream, but let’s not get carried away. Sure, the Saints allow a league-high 20.9 FPPG to QBs – over two points more than anyone else. And in truth, I actually liked Kaepernick more than any other QB in the 2011 draft (Cam Newton included), as he is a dual-threat QB with actual passing skills. However, I still wouldn’t put Kaep in my Top 10, possibly even Top 15, for QBs in Week 12. Kaep has tons of upside, but it’s only his second start.

Someone who has several more starts, and plenty of clout given his play, is Andrew Luck. He’s locked in to Top 10 QB status at this point, and with Buffalo on tap, Luck has a chance to reach the Top Five. The Bills have allowed the third-most passing TDs (19) and an average of 247.8 Yards per Game, both of which prove why Luck is primed for a big week.

Kaepernick might just be the upside solution for needy QB owners. Photo Credit multimediaimpre

Thanks to Andy Dalton flashing some rushing ability against the Chiefs, he’s now posted back-to-back 20-plus FP weeks (23 and 24). Dalton has a great chance to keep that streak going against Oakland, a team that has already allowed 20 passing TDs, and gave up 50 FP to QBs over the past two games (one of those being against mid-level QB, Joe Flacco).


Christian Ponder has only one quality scoring performance since Week 6, and it came right before the Vikings bye, when they faced the Lions. The Bears aren’t the Lions defensively. In fact, the Bears might still be better than Detroit versus the pass with only 10 players on D. Even after Kaepernick’s decent game, the Bears still are the only team allowing fewer than 10 FPPG (9.4) to QBs. You want no part of Ponder in Week 12.

Another QB you need to avoid is Sam Bradford. With only two games in which he topped 12 FPs, Bradford likely wasn’t on anyone’s radar anyway. However, if you are in a deep league and lost Ben Roethlisberger or Michael Vick, you should find a higher-upside option than Bradford against the Cardinals pass defense.

Normally, I’d skip the obvious choices for exploiting or avoiding matchups, but apparently, I need to reiterate that Drew Brees should not be benched. Ignore the fact that Brees faces the 49ers defense; it’s Drew…stinkin’…Brees. He’s the leading scorer in Fantasy and his lowest output was 14 FP against a very strong Denver secondary. I’ll say it one more time, “Do NOT sit Brees!”


Running Back Points Allowed
Rank Team Opp PPG
Rank Team Opp PPG
1 Indianapolis Colts BUF 24.1 17 Dallas Cowboys WAS 13.5
2 San Francisco 49ers NO 22.1 18 Carolina Panthers PHI 14.5
3 Tennessee Titans JAX 20.6 19 Baltimore Ravens SAD 14.1
4 Jacksonville Jaguars TEN 21.0 20 Cleveland Browns PIT 12.9
5 Buffalo Bills IND 18.1 21 Atlanta Falcons TB 14.8
6 Cincinnati Bengals OAK 21.5 22 New York Jets NE 13.7
7 Denver Broncos KC 18.6 23 St Louis Rams ARI 14.0
8 Oakland Raiders CIN 17.2 24 Chicago Bears MIN 14.0
9 San Diego Chargers BAL 17.9 25 Green Bay Packers NYG 12.6
10 Tampa Bay Buccaneers ATL 18.1 26 Houston Texans DET 12.3
11 Pittsburgh Steelers CLE 17.0 27 Kansas City Chiefs DEN 13.5
12 Philadelphia Eagles CAR 17.7 28 Seattle Seahawks MIA 12.6
13 New England Patriots NYJ 17.0 29 Miami Dolphins SEA 11.5
14 Arizona Cardinals STL 16.9 30 New Orleans Saints SAF 9.5
15 Washington Redskins DAL 15.0 31 Detroit Lions HOU 10.0
16 New York Giants GB 14.3 32 Minnesota Vikings CHI 10.8



Timeshares are more prevalent than ever in NFL backfields, and it continues to frustrate Fantasy owners. With the Colts facing the Bills, we see more proof of why. If it was just Donald Brown or Vick Ballard carrying the workload, we’d have a clear RB2 with upside for more. As it stands, Brown and Ballard continue to split carries, which makes both valuable as flex/RB3s, given the matchup, but we can’t rank them higher because of the timeshare.

I’m certain that Frank Gore is much happier seeing the Saints on the schedule than he was facing the Bears. New Orleans is second only to Buffalo in RB FPPG allowed, and they’ve allowed 135.5 rushing YPG – worst in the league. Even with Kendall Hunter getting more work to keep Gore healthy, Gore has legitimate RB1 value.

While Jacksonville gives up slightly fewer FPPG to RBs than Tennessee, they are actually the better matchup for opponents, given their defensive metrics. That gives Chris Johnson a great shot at keeping his double-digit FP streak going. Since his zero-point effort in Week 5, CJK is averaging 17.4 FPPG, and the Jags allow an average of 20.6 FP per game. Most of those will go Johnson’s way.

Quick shot: Tennessee is also awful against RBs; so those of you in desperation mode at RB can grab and plug in Jalen Parmele as a low-end RB2/flex play.


Just like Drew Brees, Adrian Peterson never sits, no matter the matchup. Ignore the Bears defense and their stingy 10.8 FPPG to RBs; ADP can overcome that on one good leg.

One RB who isn’t matchup-proof is Mikel Leshoure. While he’s looked good at times and could be the best RB Detroit has seen in years, he is not a premiere talent, and Houston is a dangerous opponent. The Texans still haven’t given up a rushing TD and they haven’t allowed opposing team RBs to top 12 FP since Week 4. Leshoure barely reaches RB2 level this Thanksgiving.

Even with 38 points scored against the Raiders, no Saints RB saw a large share of the workload (Mark Ingram 12 carries, Chris Ivory eight, Pierre Thomas five). Sure, Ingram reached the end zone, but you can’t use any Saints RB with confidence. The 49ers allow a league-low 9.5 FPPG to RBs and have only given up two rushing TDs.


Wide Receiver Points Allowed
Rank Team Opp PPG
Rank Team Opp PPG
1 San Francisco 49ers NO 27.6 17 Carolina Panthers PHI 21.2
2 Buffalo Bills IND 25.6 18 San Diego Chargers BAL 19.3
3 Dallas Cowboys WAS 26.2 19 Chicago Bears MIN 19.1
4 Indianapolis Colts BUF 22.3 20 Oakland Raiders CIN 16.8
5 Tennessee Titans JAX 23.1 21 Washington Redskins DAL 18.1
6 Pittsburgh Steelers CLE 25.2 22 St Louis Rams ARI 20.5
7 Atlanta Falcons TB 27.5 23 Arizona Cardinals STL 18.4
8 New York Jets NE 26.0 24 Detroit Lions HOU 20.1
9 Cincinnati Bengals OAK 21.4 25 Cleveland Browns PIT 15.1
10 Jacksonville Jaguars TEN 21.3 26 New England Patriots NYJ 16.3
11 Baltimore Ravens SAD 21.7 27 Philadelphia Eagles CAR 17.7
12 Houston Texans DET 20.7 28 Tampa Bay Buccaneers ATL 15.4
13 Green Bay Packers NYG 24.7 29 Minnesota Vikings CHI 18.0
14 Denver Broncos KC 20.5 30 Kansas City Chiefs DEN 17.6
15 Seattle Seahawks MIA 22.0 31 Miami Dolphins SEA 15.0
16 New York Giants GB 22.4 32 New Orleans Saints SAF 16.2



As mentioned earlier, the 49ers have the best overall matchup of the week, and that presents Kaepernick with some upside. The same goes for the WRs, but they are an even riskier proposition if Kaep starts. We cannot say for certain which receiver WR Kaepernick is most comfortable with, as Michael Crabtree led all WRs with only five targets. Vernon Davis appears to be the main beneficiary, and any WR not named Crabtree is too much of risk, aside from deep leagues and desperate owners.

Stevie Johnson has just one double-digit game since Week 3, and not coincidentally, it included a TD catch. The four games in which Stevie has caught a TD are the games in which he’s reached double-digits. The good news is that Indy has allowed the third most receiving TDs (14, four teams tied at 15). Even without a TD the past two games, Stevie’s solid reception total (six in each game) allowed him to post respectable FP totals of eight and seven respectively. He’s locked in as a WR2 this week. Donald Jones is similar to the secondary 49ers WRs, with enough upside to warrant deep-league play.

Dez Bryant hadn’t been a consistent option or even worthy of a high ranking in PPR leagues. And then that happened. With 12 catches, 145 yards and a TD against Cleveland, Bryant once again has us giddy over what he can do with that talent of his. It was a great week to get on track because playing Washington is the best way to keep that production going. The Skins allow the second most FPPG to WRs and are fourth in receiving yards allowed, just 0.4 YPG fewer than the Patriots. Dez will border on WR1 value, and don’t forget Miles Austin, as he deserves the fringe-WR1 tag as well.


Marques Colston doesn’t find a spot on your bench unless you are loaded at WR, but Lance Moore and the rest of Saints WRs certainly can. Moore’s numbers are inconsistent, and we’d expect nothing different in that offense. With the 49ers having allowed a league-low five TD receptions to WRs, Moore is a risky play, and you should just ignore the rest.

The shoe dropped for Brian Hartline immediately after his Week 4 explosion. Hartline only has one game in double-digits since then and zero TD catches. Seattle allows just 120.1 WR receiving YPG, and that sets up Hartline for another quiet week. Davone Bess shouldn’t even register on your Fantasy radar.

Can anyone blame Dwayne Bowe for wanting out of Kansas City? No matter who is at quarterback for the Chiefs, they simply haven’t made the most of Bowe’s talents. If you look at Week 2 and Week 4 for Bowe, you’ll see the type of numbers that could make him elite. Unfortunately, Bowe’s highest total since then is just six FPs. With a matchup against Denver’s top-notch secondary this week, Bowe might not reach even six FP.


Tight End Points Allowed
Rank Team Opp PPG
Rank Team Opp PPG
1 Jacksonville Jaguars TEN 10.3 17 Denver Broncos KC 6.2
2 Dallas Cowboys WAS 10.2 18 Washington Redskins DAL 6.4
3 San Francisco 49ers NO 7.5 19 Arizona Cardinals STL 6.7
4 Houston Texans DET 8.2 20 Seattle Seahawks MIA 6.4
5 Cincinnati Bengals OAK 7.9 21 San Diego Chargers BAL 6.0
6 Oakland Raiders CIN 8.5 22 Baltimore Ravens SAD 5.2
7 Indianapolis Colts BUF 7.3 23 Green Bay Packers NYG 6.7
8 New York Jets NE 9.3 24 Detroit Lions HOU 7.0
9 New England Patriots NYJ 8.4 25 Miami Dolphins SEA 6.2
10 Kansas City Chiefs DEN 10.8 26 Pittsburgh Steelers CLE 4.6
11 Tennessee Titans JAX 6.7 27 Cleveland Browns PIT 5.1
12 Chicago Bears MIN 7.2 28 Carolina Panthers PHI 5.7
13 Tampa Bay Buccaneers ATL 7.4 29 New York Giants GB 5.9
14 Atlanta Falcons TB 7.2 30 Minnesota Vikings CHI 5.9
15 Buffalo Bills IND 5.8 31 St Louis Rams ARI 5.1
16 Philadelphia Eagles CAR 7.5 32 New Orleans Saints SAF 4.7



I’m not sure why owners are frenzied over Marcedes Lewis after one great game. Without a TD catch, Lewis’ highest output is just four FP. I still don’t recommend him in most leagues, but with a matchup against Tennessee, Lewis could easily provide value again. Just know that there are several other more reliable tight ends possibly available, including Brandon Myers (seriously, what does it take for you guys to grab him?), Jermaine Gresham, Jared Cook and Greg Olsen.

Jason Witten always starts for you, and he’s a Top Five TE against Washington.

As we noted, Vernon Davis put up his second-best game of the season with Kaep at QB. Even if Alex Smith plays some snaps, Davis is back to TE1 status against the weak Saints defense.


You’re not benching Jimmy Graham, even against the 49ers defense, so let’s move on.

Also, moving past Lance Kendricks (does anyone even have him rostered?), we see Kyle Rudolph in a tough matchup. Not only is Rudy reliant on TDs for Fantasy production, but Chicago allows just 56.1 yards and 5.9 FP per game to TEs.

So much for those first three games for Martellus Bennett. Since then, Bennett has just one game with more than four FP, and only seven versus the lowly Skins. Find a different TE solution this week.

(Reminder: You’ll notice the rankings are not in exact order of points allowed. Other metrics are calculated in along with just straight points. It allows for better analysis so one off-week doesn’t skew the opponent difficulty too greatly.)


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